Definitions

piña-colada

Piña

[pee-nyah; Eng. peen-yuh]
Piña is a fiber made from the leaves of a pineapple and is commonly used in the Philippines. It is sometimes combined with silk or polyester to create a textile fabric. The end fabric is lightweight, easy to care for and has an elegant appearance similar to linen.

Major Fiber Properties

Piña comes from the leaves of the pineapple plant. "Each strand of the hand scraped Piña fiber is knotted one by one to form a continuous filament for hand weaving into the Piña cloth". The piña fiber is softer, and has a high luster, and is usually white or ivory in color. It is also called Pina in Español(Spain)

Production Methods

Since piña is from a leaf, the leaf has to first be cut from the plant. Then the fiber is pulled or split away from the leaf. Most leaf fibers are long and somewhat stiff.

Producers

Kalibo, Aklan is the main and the oldest manufacturer/weaver of Piña cloth in the Philippines which are being exported to various parts of the world most particularly North America, and Europe. Piña weaving is an age-old tradition which was recently revived in the past 20 years. History records suggest that Kalibo's Piña cloth was traded during the Pre-Hispanic times and reached as far as Greece and Egypt during it's heyday. Kalibo is also known for other native products such as handbags made of buri leaves which is a favorite for Caucasian females visiting the town. Pineapple silk is considered the queen of Philippine fabrics and is considered the fabric of choice of the Philippine elite. During the 1996 edition of APEC in the Philippines, world leaders donned a Pineapple silk Barong Tagalog from Kalibo during the obligatory class photo.

- De La Cruz House of Piña - Aklan - Local designer India dela Cruz makes pillows for Calvin Klein from Piña cloth.

- Malabon Pina Producers and Weavers Association

- Reycon's Piña Cloth and Industry

- Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation

Trade Names

None found at this time. Piña is often just referred to as pineapple fiber.

Piña is a Spanish last name with the Portuguese equivalent being Pina.

Uses

A major use for piña fabric is in the creation of the Barong Tagalog and other formal wear that is common in the Philippines. It is also used for other table linens, bags, mats and other clothing items, or anytime that a lightweight, but stiff and sheer fabric is needed.

Sources for more information

In the July/August 17 issue of the Textile Society of Hong Kong Newsletter, Anne Harte, went to the Philippines and experienced the making of piña first hand. "We were given a demonstration of fiber extracting by hand. The fiber is scraped from the pineapple leaf using a piece of broken plate or coconut shell- a fast scraper can extract fiber from over 500 leaves per day." She goes on to write, "The cloth is used to make the traditional Barong Tagalog wedding attire, for men and blouses for the women." In addition, Harte saw the raw beginnings of piña "Our next visit was to see the raw materials first hand, a trip to one of the families who supply washed bastos, the extracted pineapple fiber, for paper thread. After walking a mile or so through sodden fields we arrived at the home of the Diat family and were welcomed with traditional Filipino hospitality; soft drinks and home made banana fritters. We were then treated to a demonstration of washing extracted pina fiber - bastos - in the stream beside their house. An order was placed for washed bastos and ilniwan - the finer extracted fiber - to be sent to Tina at a later date. The supply of native pineapple fiber is limited so KP may have to cultivate their own supply or else use the less desirable Hawaiian pineapple fiber". Harte then concludes by saying, "On my return to Hong Kong, I remembered the warmth and hospitality of our hosts. Observing people working with the raw materials of their locality, to produce items of beauty and integrity with limited financial resources was inspiring.

Hong Kong Newsletter, WORKSHOP REPORT: "PINA SHIFU" by Anne Harte

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